“What isn’t measured, isn’t managed,” goes the old business adage. Tracking time helps law firms ensure they’re billing for all the hours they should be, lets them see where they spend their time, and aids those who charge a flat fee in making sure the fee represents the time worked. Most firms understand this, but with the shift from the days of paper and block billing to our current work-from-home world, solutions often lie in new territory.
While every firm has different needs, there are a few guiding principles that stay the same.
Track time as it happens
Not unlike grains of sand in an hourglass, it can be easy to lose track of individual moments. By the end of a busy day, those fifteen minutes of research time between other tasks may well be forgotten and left off a client invoice. The best way to avoid this kind of leakage is to ensure each task is recorded as it happens.
Use a cloud-based tool
The significant increase in remote working during the pandemic has brought the issue of on-premise versus cloud-based tools to the fore. Being forced to access programs only through specific computers or a virtual private network (VPN) has gotten more complicated in the work-from-home age.
By contrast, cloud-based tools offer the benefits of anytime, anywhere tracking for maximum flexibility. These tools usually come with a mobile device app to truly allow you to capture time as it occurs – from home, in court, or at the office.
Use a tool that’s part of your billing and practice management program
Tracking time with a tool that’s integrated with your firm’s billing or practice management program allows for instantaneous records. It saves you from the time-consuming but necessary task of adding in records of ten minutes here and there.
An integrated approach makes it easy to create a clear, detailed invoice while also ensuring that you are actually billing for your time. Additionally, it cuts down on time spent on data entry and administrative tasks because those are automatically done for you.